Today is the memorial service for my Aunt Joan, my dad’s only sibling. We mourn because we see her now only “in memory”. But, despite the loss, we are not sad today because Aunt Joan was a woman of deep faith and we rejoice that she has reached her heavenly home.
Tom and I drove back to Ohio for the service. My dad said we didn’t need to come, but it felt important to me that we be here.
First, it is important to be here because of my Aunt Joan. She was a special lady. When we were kids we loved to go to her house, mostly because it was full of cousins to play with. Mike, Maureen, and Calvin were always good for tag, paper dolls, or board games.
Aunt Joan lived in lots of different places and we went to visit the family in most of them. The only place they lived that we didn’t go was Nigeria. We visited them in Belgium and Boston. Eventually Aunt Joan came back to the farm where she grew up and she, with my Uncle Ted, built their dream house across the field from the farmhouse.
Once her kids were grown, Aunt Joan returned to teaching and retired after many classrooms full of first and third graders. Then she bought a Bed and Breakfast in Bluffton and continued to use her gift of making people feel at home.
After she retired from teaching, Aunt Joan tried harder too keep up with nieces and nephews. I could always count on a nice card from her on my birthday. For the last six years, she has called me on my birthday and called at various other times just to see where I am and what I am doing. She loved to travel and had adventures all over the world, so she loved to hear about the adventures Tom and I are having now.
Another reason Tom and I decided to come up for the memorial service is for my dad. He was a terrific brother to Aunt Joan. He called her regularly and went to visit whenever he could. I want to be there for him during this time when we have Aunt Joan in memory.
A third reason to come up for the memorial service is to see my cousins again. The last time we were all together was twelve years ago when my Uncle Ted died. We keep in touch on Facebook, but live all over and don’t get together. Maureen is in Indiana, Mike in Louisiana, and Calvin in California. Everyone is busy with their own families. But we all make time for a memorial service.
Today we hold Aunt Joan in memory. They are good memories, precious to us because we will not have any new memories that include her. I thank God for the gift of my Aunt Joan, for her adventurous spirit, and for her faith. She shines today with the light of heaven.